Tahiti expresses interest in hosting 2019 Pacific Games as deadline passes


Tuesday, 1st August 2017

The Pacific Games Council (PGC) confirmed the three expressions of interest had been submitted following the passing of the deadline yesterday.

Should Tahiti secure the 2019 hosting rights, it would be the third time the event has been held there.

The overseas collectivity of France hosted the Games in 1971 and 1995, with capital city Papeete staging the action.

It lost out to Tonga for the 2019 Games in the vote in 2012.

PGC executive director Andrew Minogue told insidethegames earlier this week that Guam had officially registered their interest and that Samoa would definitely follow suit by the deadline.

"The PGC is delighted with this response and thanks the three PGAs (Pacific Games Associations) for stepping forward with their intention to host the 2019 Pacific Games and delivering a strong vote of confidence in the importance of the Games and the benefits of hosting them," a statement from the body reads.

"The three expressions of interest contain varying levels of detail as well as varying levels of financial commitments from their respective Governments.

"As such, the PGC Executive Board will fully assess the expression of interest documents, conduct site visits where appropriate, before recommending an alternative host by the end of August or early September."

Tonga withdrew in May, but were given until June 30 to address financial concerns which may have rescued their hosting of the Games.

The country were then officially stripped of the event after the PGC terminated the hosting agreement when Prime Minister Akilisi Pōhiva confirmed the country's decision was final.

Papua New Guinea's capital Port Moresby hosted the 2015 Pacific Games ©Port Moresby 2015/Twitter

A delegation from the PGC are set to travel to Guam the week commencing August 7, before they head to Samoa two weeks later.

The PGC will also inspect Tahiti, although a date has yet to be confirmed. 

Both Fiji and Papua New Guinea, who hosted the 2015 edition of the Pacific Games in capital city Port Moresby, had already ruled themselves out of the running.

The PGC had previously warned they would consider legal action against the Tongan Government for breach of contract for their decision to withdraw.

On June 7, Pōhiva said he wanted to focus the country’s finances on more important areas of the economy.

Earlier reports had claimed that 'Aisake Eke, the former Minister of Finance, had told the Tonga Sports Association and National Olympic Committee that funds had already been set aside for the Games by the Government.

A spokesman for the Tongan Cabinet told Kaniva News in June that Pōhiva had decided to save the country from what has been described as a "costly mistake".

He added that Pōhiva was informed of a World Bank report, which warned the Polynesian kingdom could find itself in financial trouble in the scenario that it went ahead and hosted the Games in 2019.

Pōhiva cast doubt on Tonga's ability to host the event last year when he warned a number of construction projects for the event were unlikely to meet their deadlines.


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